Former Athletic Forward Sabin Merino Has Exploded Since Joining Deportivo
When Sabin Merino broke into the Athletic first team in 2015 his future looked bright. Along with playing a key role in the team’s Spanish Super Cup victory over Barcelona, the forward would go on to score 7 goals in his debut season and looked capable of eventually becoming the successor to Aritz Aduriz. Unfortunately, the success wouldn’t last forever.
A string of injuries derailed Merino’s development and kept him sidelined for extended periods of time. Going into the final year of his contract with Athletic, the Lezama product rejected offers to leave on loan in the summer of 2018. Merino wanted to stay at the club and fight for his place but never saw the field. In January of 2019 he would join Leganés on loan before making the move permanent at the end of the campaign.
Merino’s spell at Leganés was largely disappointing. The 28-year-old made just two appearances this season before signing with Deportivo last month which seems to be just the switch he needed to rediscover his best level. Since the move Merino has been on fire, scoring in each of the four games he’s played and helping lead Deportivo out of the relegation zone.
Scoring goals has been just the tip of the iceberg. Merino has played with confidence, contributed in many facets of the game, and has quickly become a leader in the team. Lining up at striker has given Merino the opportunity to showcase his quality and, for the first time in years, is playing at the same level that he did in his debut season with Athletic.
On Monday it was announced that Sabin Merino has been named the Segunda Player of the Month for January and the award is fully deserved. “I have found a point of maturity that perhaps I haven’t had in other years,” he said during the ceremony. “I’m at my best regardless of trophies. I want to improve every day because I think there’s room to be better.”
Merino has been the most impactful player in the league over the past few weeks and seems to finally be at his best once again. Considering Athletic’s struggles in font of goal over the past year, a return to the club this summer could be possible for Sabin Merino if he continues at this level.
🏆 Sabin Merino, Player of the Month for January in #LaLigaSmartBank. 👏
💙 @RCDeportivo 💙
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) February 10, 2020